Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What to do about pain

Pain is an ordinary part of human experience. We are fully human only when we experience pain. Pain may come for a short visit or a long stay. To me, pain was like an "allergy" I had to deal with, or not. But choosing to constantly numb pain or run away from it does not help us grow and learn from the deeper message it brings into our lives.

Sometimes, temporary helps are useful in dealing with an overwhelming moment of pain. But sooner or later it is better to face the underlying reason for the pain, and uproot it at its core. This is what pain is for: to warn us of an enemy within. The pain itself is not the enemy. Many who choose to live with pain and are miserable, waste this precious "gift" and opportunity given in order to learn to persevere and be strengthened in the Spirit.

If the pain is due to a physical illness, we have to listen to what the doctor recommends as a cure, and follow obediently without delay. If the pain is emotional, we can reach out and be of service to others who may also be hurting and in this way walk to overcome the pain, together.

I have walked with another who was hurting in the same way that I was after losing a child. She became my little ray of hope when my life seemed hopeless. I became an instrument of God's peace to her when her heart was restless and afraid. We all have the God-given grace to choose to surrender all pain, and unite it to Christ's sufferings on the Cross. In this way, animated by God's inner strength in the Holy Spirit, we become participants in Calvary uniting ourselves to the yoke of Christ (who bears all our pain for us already).

We have the ability to choose to rejoice in our pain and live; or be distressed by it and die.
Which will you choose?

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